Some popular commercially produced gliders include those made by Phantom, ERC (Esox Research), the River Run Manta, and the Musky Mania Magic Maker among many others.
|Here are a few commercially made gliders along with a custom made Hot Tail (bottom left).|
Three guys that I know that make outstanding gliders can be found on Facebook. Tony Ashby’s Hot Tail is a big hit with many anglers around the country discovering how effective his gliders are. Tony’s lures are easy to work, have a great wobble on the fall, and come in a nice array of colors. Tony puts a lot of time into his lures and boy do they catch fish! His Facebook page can be found here: Hot Tail Gliders.
|Tony Ashby sporting a fat healthy musky caught on his very own Hot Tail Glider.|
|This musky T-boned this walleye color Hot Tail!|
|These are variations of the Hot Tail Walleye color. The top one was the original design, the middle one was a more recent design, and the newest design is below. They all look great in the water and catch fish, and I'm glad to have the variety.|
|Check out this pig of a musky that Tim caught on his H&H Custom Muskie Lures "Apache". What a fish!|
|This musky fell for one of Tim's Apaches!|
All of the gliders mentioned above are hard baits, but there is one lure maker that designed a soft bodied glider, the Secret Agent, that also has a nice wobble on the fall, and extra attraction with a rather unique tail. I think it’s great too because if a musky bites down on this bait, the fish will feel mostly the softness of the lure and may hang onto it longer. You can try to obtain these gliders via this Facebook page (ask for Don): CIA Lure Company (Confidence in Action).
There are many more custom gliders on the market. You can find them doing internet searches or even on eBay. Some guys make and stock them, some are made to order, so delivery dates might not be as quick as a commercial product. My advice would be that if you order one, to be patient, as these guys have day jobs and they do this on the side, and they put a ton of time and effort into their product. Each hand made glider is almost like a work of art. And they really like when someone catches a fish on their lure, and pictures sent to them are much appreciated.
Gliders come in a wide variety of sizes and colors. Some that rattle, some that don’t, some that sink faster than others, some that wobble on the fall, and others that don’t, some with soft plastic tails and others that don’t have them. And they all work. It’s these variations that can give you a wide range of techniques to choose from. And each can be an effective tool at one time or another. For me, learning how to fish a glider was really a revelation when it came to my outlook on musky fishing. If you haven't fished one before, and you're into musky fishing, then you owe it to yourself to pick a couple of them up and give them a try.
In a nutshell, these are walk the dog style subsurface lures. Some run deeper than others too, so having a few different brands could help you. How? Perhaps you’ve had recent success working an ERC Hellhound, but on this particular day, the muskies don’t seem to be interested in that presentation. Having one that, perhaps, runs a bit deeper or wobbles more on the fall, or perhaps has a tantalizing soft tail, might be the ticket to triggering that rare musky strike.
|Ken Briggs poses with a nice rainy day musky caught on an ERC Hellhound. Hellhounds are easy to work to get that nice walk the dog action.|
Some lures are easier to work than others, but after a while, with practice you will easily figure out the cadence for each brand. Some guys hold and work their fishing rods on this retrieve in front, twitching up and down, others hold to the side and twitch to the side, while still others hold their rod tips up and almost jig them. No matter how you do it, the muskies will react to a bait that has a good side to side movement. And, even then, when it doesn't seem to work like you think it should, muskies may still hit it. They don't look at it and say, "well, it isn't walking the dog". Rather, they see the lure as something moving and as prey.
|Jeremy Tyson, co-founder of the Facebook page, Keystone Outdoor Addiction, proves that tiger muskies love Hot Tails too. Check out this fat tiger musky, what a beauty!|
|Shawn Reardon netted this tiger musky after it slammed a Musky Mania Magic Maker. These smaller gliders are perfect for chasing tigers or post spawn pure muskies, and they're easy to work to get that walk the dog action.|
I don't have dedicated reels, but some guys like a quicker line pick up so that they can take up the slack easier when walking the dog.
As far as leaders go, I’ve come to like the wire leaders without swivels when using gliders. I think that they help the action and the fish aren’t shy about the wire at all. But really, I'm not sure that it matters a whole lot. I've used them with regular fluorocarbon musky leaders and caught fish. The muskies really don't give a darn what leader you use. But if you don't use one designed for muskies, they will bite you off and steal your expensive musky lures.
Gliders, for the most part, will work the upper third of the water column, and are generally effective in the eight to ten foot depths or less. For ones that sink and wobble, they can be effective in deeper water too. But, really, you never know, as muskies can be cruising the surface and as long as they can see your lure, they may hit it.
I was fishing a glider over thirty feet of water one day about two casts from shore, and was moving to another shallower weedy spot, standing on my trolling motor at a pretty fast speed and had a musky come up and slam my glider. I wasn't even working it, the Hot Tail was wobbling side to side as the boat moved, almost trolling. I couldn’t believe it! Unfortunately, that fish came unbuttoned at the boat. I guess a couple lessons here, that these crazy fish might be cruising near the surface over deep water where a glider could be quite tempting for them, always be ready for a bite, and they aren't always picky about your retrieve!
Gliders, as I mentioned above, can be very versatile. How? If you’re using one that sinks nicely, you can cover various depths by the speed of your retrieve. Slower, longer pulls and glides will allow you to work the lure deeper, while quicker walk the dog moves will allow you to work the lure just below the surface. They also give you options for a boat side presentation that others may not.
Remember my last article about doing figure eights? Well, you can certainly do figure eights with these as you can do with any lure. But, with some practice, you can even do walk the dog figure eights at boat side. Or, you can twitch the rod tip and make the lure move side to side in place, literally.
|Jeremy with a very fat musky caught on a walleye color Hot Tail Glider. Jeremy really takes glider fishing to a new level by using the "death pause" and jigging to trigger muskies to bite at boat side.|
|Mike Schiffbauer shows that big musky gliders can catch trophy fish of many species, including this 31 1/2 inch, fourteen pound walleye that engulfed an Apache. What an awesome catch! By the way, gliders are also great for catching Northern Pike.|
One more thing that I like about gliders is that, for the most part, aren't taxing on your body. Often, after tossing size 10 double bladed bucktails for an extended period of time, I'll switch to tossing a glider to give myself a bit of a break. Gliders are easier on me to work, and the change of a lure now and then might be just the ticket when that feeding window opens.
Gliders are effective during all months of the year, cold or warm, as long as you have open water (and muskies are in season). So, get out there and glide for muskies! Below, more musky glider fishing eye candy...I can hear that fat musky mumbling and drooling in a Homer Simpson type voice... "mmmmmmmm... ggrrglll....gliders..."
|Rocky Droneburg sporting a thick musky caught on a Hot Tail. Rocky has really mastered catching muskies on gliders.|
|Nate Kahle with a beautiful musky caught on a Hot Tail.|
|Jeremy Tyson caught his personal best, a fat monster of a musky, doing the death pause and jigging a walleye color Hot Tail at boat side.|
|Bob Franko (BlackJack Guide Service) hooked up on this beautiful 47 inch musky after if followed about ten feet deep in gin clear water, enticing her to bite with four jigs/death pauses of a Hot Tail.|
|Jeremy with a beauty that inhaled a walleye color Apache.|